Last week we talked about the Penguins and the undrafted free agent market here on Pensburgh, and today comes news that Pittsburgh reportedly will indeed be dipping into these waters to sign a young player.
Expect news out of Pittsburgh today. It’s believed Kingston Forward Jordan Frasca is going to sign an entry-level contract with the Penguins. The 20 year old has 65 points in 44 games.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 1, 2022
Here is a look at Frasca’s hockeydb playing card:
The size stands out, as does his huge 2021-22 season offensively. Corey Pronman from The Athletic rated Frasca as having “a chance to play in the NHL” and ranked him seventh among undrafted free agent class this spring. Here was Pronman’s assessment of Frasca’s game:
Frasca has been having a huge season on one of the top teams in the CHL. He’s a big center with good puck skills who can create around the net, which is highly appealing from a pro perspective. He won’t win skating contests, but I’ve seen worse feet on guys his size and have seen him beat guys wide.
In this highlight, at least, the big forward (#34) showcases some nice hands. Frasca has been on a roll lately, according to Elite Prospects he has 18 points (7G+11A) in the last 10 games he has played.
Frasca was never drafted, but recently has been somewhat on the NHL’s radar. He attended prospect camp in 2021 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
What does the mean for the Pens?
Well, right now, the Pittsburgh Penguins really don’t have any centers as prospects their organization that project to the NHL at the center position. Like, zero. Seriously, just check out our list of the Top 25 Under 25. They have some players like Filip Hallander or Jordy Bellerive who played center at other levels, but now play on the wing in the AHL. They have prospects like Drew O’Connor and Sam Poulin, who are thought of as wingers that have moonlighted as AHL centers at times this season. Even 2021 second rounder Tristan Broz has been playing wing as a freshman at the University of Minnesota. Fellow 2021 draftee Kirill Tankov has been playing some center in the lower levels of Russia, but when that is the best illustration of a center talent in the organization? Not a pretty picture, so adding Frasca makes a great deal of sense for the Pens at this point of what their prospect pipelines are looking like.
Adding a player like Frasca could give the Pens at least some semblance of a young player with upside who is a natural center. He’s certainly got the size and frame to look the part of playing center at the pro level.
That said, if you follow prospects very much, an early lesson to learn (whether it comes in the form of Casey Pierro-Zabotel or Justin Almieda) is don’t always fall in love with a player having a monster season as an over-age player in juniors. Especially when it’s the first big year they have (check) and/or could be team-fueled with other top offensive players helping the cause (double check). Frasca falls into this category to be skeptical of seeing a huge point total in the OHL and project him to instantly be a tremendous NHL prospect. Let’s hold the horses on all of that for right now.
But, with that in mind, he plays at a position of absolute need for Pittsburgh and looks certainly like a player worth taking a shot on with an NHL entry level contract to see what he could develop into being. That’s a nice add, and the fact the Pens looked to sign a center is a wise direction to go with this spring’s undrafted UFA class.
The Pens have made the Frasca signing official, and also announced they have signed goalie Taylor Gauthier (WHL, Portland)
The Penguins have signed undrafted free agent forward Jordan Frasca and goaltender Taylor Gauthier each to a three-year, entry-level contract.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 1, 2022
Full details: https://t.co/CVHMsP2WTa pic.twitter.com/zulAJKmncZ
Both players will finish out this season with their respective junior clubs and then have three-year entry level contracts start in 2022-23. Both should be participating in the normal summer prospect camps and events before attending camp with the Pens next fall.